To date, two test centres have been authorised to carry out road-worthiness tests on 'fast' tractors - though the number of authorised centres is expected to increase, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has confirmed.

A 'fast' tractor is defined as a tractor that has a maximum design speed which exceeds 40kph. The requirement to test these tractors was brought in under an EU directive that came into play on May 20.

However, it was announced earlier this year that there would be some exemptions.

A fast tractor will not have to undergo a commercial vehicle test if it is used:

  • For the purposes of agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery activity solely within the State and mainly on the land where such activity takes place, including agricultural roads, forestry roads or agricultural fields;
  • Exclusively on a small island. This exclusion from the requirement for compulsory testing will apply to all of the islands off the Irish coast.

But tractor drivers were warned by the RSA that these exemptions are not an excuse for not having a vehicle in roadworthy condition when using it on a public road.

The road-worthiness testing of 'fast' tractors will be carried out in a number of authorised heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) testing centres within the Commercial Vehicle Road-worthiness Testing (CVRT) network

As it stands, 'fast' tractors can be tested by the Banner Vehicle Centre - with an address in Lismuibreeda, Darragh, Ennis, Co. Clare - and by Kelly Trucks Ballaghdereen Ltd - which is located on Lung Road, Ballaghderreen, Co. Roscommon.

Examples of fast tractors which will require testing include those used for:

  • Local authority work;
  • Lonstruction industry;
  • Quarry industry;
  • Manufacturing industry;
  • Mining industry;
  • Road construction/road works.

Tractors required to be tested must be put under the spotlight once it is four years old. Following that, it will have to be tested every second year, the RSA explained.

'Fast' tractors which are currently fours year old or more will need to be tested "as soon as possible", the authority added.

Cost and penalties

A test fee of €146.52, excluding VAT, will be charged for a tractor which has a design gross vehicle weight (DGVW) in excess of 3,500kg - but not exceeding 7,500kg. A retest fee of €47.26 (excluding VAT) would also apply for this category.

Meanwhile, tractors with a DGVW above 7,500kg would be charged €171.16 (excluding VAT) - while a retest fee of €59.08 (excluding VAT) would apply for this category where applicable.

People who use a vehicle without a valid certificate of road-worthiness (CRW) could end up in court. On conviction, a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months - or both - may be imposed, the RSA explained.

Five penalty points would also apply on conviction, it added.

More details regarding the testing of 'fast' tractors - including what the test entails - is available online.